Freak crash takes icon

The West Australian - - NEWS - Rourke Walsh

Sleep­ing hand in hand with her soulmate and hus­band An­thony in hos­pi­tal, Kelly Ex­eter said her fi­nal good­bye.

The beloved fa­ther of two was the “emo­tional axis” on which his fam­ily’s world ro­tated.

But on Fri­day af­ter­noon, that world was shat­tered when the 41-year-old was cat­a­stroph­i­cally in­jured in a freak ac­ci­dent.

Mr Ex­eter was driv­ing on Bus­sell High­way near Lud­low with his wife and their two chil­dren about 1.15pm on Fri­day when a canopy on a boat be­ing towed in front of them de­tached and slammed into the wind­screen of their car.

He was ad­mit­ted to Royal Perth Hos­pi­tal with se­ri­ous in­juries and died on Sun­day af­ter his life sup­port sys­tem was switched off.

Mr Ex­eter’s wife and chil­dren were not hurt in the in­ci­dent.

In an emo­tional Face­book post hours af­ter her hus­band’s death, Mrs Ex­eter said he had suf­fered a cat­a­strophic brain in­jury and could not re­cover. “Last night I got the chance to sleep hand in hand with my soulmate,” she wrote.

“Tonight he passed away peace­fully shortly af­ter breath­ing tubes were re­moved. To say we are dev­as­tated is an un­der­state­ment.

“For Jaden, Mia and me, he was the emo­tional axis our world ro­tated on.

“Thank you to ev­ery­one for your thoughts, wishes and prayers over the last two days. We are so priv­i­leged to have the net­work of love and sup­port we do.”

Mr Ex­eter’s fam­ily said yes­ter­day that his defin­ing qual­i­ties were his “ab­so­lute love of life” and “abil­ity to live in the mo­ment”.

They said his death had left a “huge hole” in their lives.

“He found a way to make any sit­u­a­tion fun — whether it was drinks at the pub with his friends or break­ing up a squab­ble be­tween his two chil­dren,” the fam­ily said. “He adored his lit­tle fam­ily unit of Kelly, Jaden

and Mia, and would do any­thing for them.”

Mrs Ex­eter asked peo­ple, who were plan­ning to send flow­ers, to con­sider do­nat­ing to char­ity Rafiki Mwema.

“It is a char­ity that looks af­ter chil­dren who are not priv­i­leged to ex­pe­ri­ence the love, care and safety Ant pro­vided our chil­dren with,” she said.

On the bas­ket­ball court, Mr Ex­eter was a star whose dec­o­rated ca­reer in­cluded a most valu­able player award and more than 300 State league games.

A WA bas­ket­ball stal­wart with the Rock­ing­ham Flames and Perth Red­backs in the State Bas­ket­ball League, Mr Ex­eter was crowned SBL rookie of the year in his de­but sea­son for the Flames in 1995 and is among a few Aus­tralians to earn the league’s high­est hon­our, named most valu­able player in 2000.

He was se­lected for the SBL all-star team from 1999 to 2001.

Po­lice say the in­ci­dent is be­ing in­ves­ti­gated.

They want to speak to any­one who was trav­el­ling on Bus­sell High­way on Fri­day af­ter­noon and has dash-cam vi­sion.

Crime Stop­pers: 1800 333 000 or crimestop­per­

Last night I got the chance to sleep hand in hand with my soulmate. Kelly Ex­eter

Pic­ture: Seven News

Po­lice in­spect the car af­ter the ac­ci­dent on Bus­sell High­way.

An­thony Ex­eter play­ing for the Rock­ing­ham Flames in the SBL.

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